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By Pat Andrews
posted Mar 13, 2013 - 3:57:18pm
White smoke arose from the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican this afternoon, and the peal of bells was heard across Rome, around 2 p.m. our time, and around 7 p.m. at the Vatican: A new pope has been chosen.
White smokes signals the election of a new pope.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who will be known as Pope Francis, was elected the next pope. He will be the first pope from the New World.
National Public Radio reported the papal selection came on the fifth ballot of the 115-member College of Cardinals.
The crowd went wild after Pope Francis accepted the post, announced his new name — Francis I — he will assume as pope, and prayed.
He asked the blessing of God, the Madonna, and the people upon him.
Pope Francis will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, and he will represent a spiritual leader to many others.
The new pope, who is 76 years old, has been a cardinal since 2001.
NBC News reported he is the Argentine-born son of an Italian railway worker. He's seen as a compassionate conservative, who reportedly came in second during the 2005 balloting that elected Benedict XVI.
Father Tom Connery of St. Peter Catholic Church in DeLand said this afternoon that like most people, he's still taking it all in.
"May God's grace be with him," Connery said of the new pope.
Connery added, he likes the name "Francis" that the new pope selected.
St. Francis was associated with reform in the church, and he was "very humble, very gracious," Connery said.
He added, St. Francis reached out to the Muslims, which will be important for the church in years to come. "I think that will be important."
St. Francis, who lived in Italy in the 13th century, founded the men's Franciscan Order, and helped found the women's Order of St. Clare. He was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant who rejected wealth and lived in poverty, helping the poor.
St. Francis is also the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Bishop John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando, sent out a notice that states:
"Pope Francis has chosen the legacy of the great saint of peace whose attraction to people of all faiths provided great progress for the new evangelization. Pope Francis is a strong choice to represent the voice of Christ in the world. As a son of Ignatius, he knows that God is to be found in all things.
"We pray for Pope Francis that he may continue to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all matters and the example of Christ will be a guide for him. May the Peace of the Lord be with us this day and always."
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